Review: Echo & The Bunnymen at The Warfield

I’m a Bunnyhead. At various times I’ve tried to deny it. For a while I thought that it was just a phase of my youth, but alas, I am what I am. I first saw the Bunnymen perform Friday September 7th, 1984 at The Berkeley Community Theater. Over the past 25 years I’ve probably seen them perform 20 times in various incarnations, with and without Ian, Ian with and without the rest of the band, and as Eletrafiction. I’ve road tripped and flown cross country, crept and crawled under bleachers and even made a pilgrimage to Liverpool. I’ve gone backstage after many a show, watched sound checks, had a private tour of their offices, and even went drinking with the band, but am just now coming to the realization that I’ve never actually published any bunnymen-related reviews or rants. How can this be?

Well, here it is folks. My first Bunnymen show review. I’ll keep it short and sweet. Ian McCulloch is a lucky bastard to have such a tight and talented group of musicians to play with. Pete and Jake have passed, and Les stepped out of the fray many years ago when his mum fell ill. Only Will remains of the “original” line-up. Ian still has an amazing voice, even if he does abuse it with cigarettes and alcohol, and often can’t be bothered to come to the soundcheck. Admittedly Ian needed a wee bit of help on the high bits of “A Promise”, and he just oped out completely on vocals for “Killing Moon”, but all the passion and pain of 30 years of hard living has done nothing but add depth and wisdom to his memorable voice, and he was able to croon consistently for almost two hours.

For me, the highlight of the show was the second half of the album, Heaven Up Here.” After shooting the first part of teh show from teh photo pit, then heading up to the balcony, I somehow found myself down front again. “No Dark Things” “Turquoise Days” and “All I Want” are some of the darkest material the Bunnymen have penned, and it was fantastic to hear it all in one impassioned performance.

Towards the beginning of the show, Ian expressed his appreciation for being in San Francisco, explaining that even a shit mood can go away when performing for us San Franciscans. I’d like to express the same sentiments right back at ya, Ian. Even my shit mood can go away when hearing the burred treasures from my favorite band.

Check out the full photo album for Echo & The Bunymen at The Warfield on Flickr:
[flickr album=72157626766976122 num=10 size=Thumbnail]

Set list Echo & The Bunnymen at The Warfield Theater
Going Up
Stars Are Stars
Rescue(Broke My Neck snippet)
Villiers Terrace
Pictures On My Wall
All That Jazz
Happy Death Men
Do It Clean

Bring On the Dancing Horses
Nothing Lasts Forever / Walk on the Wild Side
(Lou Reed cover)


Show of Strength
With a Hip
Over the Wall
It Was A Pleasure
A Promise
Heaven Up Here
The Disease
All My Colours
No Dark Things
Turquoise Days
All I Want

The Killing Moon
The Cutter

Encore 2:
Lips Like Sugar